Published on Jan 10, 2016
A new concept for flight to orbit is described in this paper. It involves mass addition to an ascending, air-breathing, hypersonic lifting vehicle. General laws for flight to orbit with mass addition are developed, and it is shown that payload capabilities are higher than even the most advanced rocket launchers. Hyperplanes are multipurpose, fully reusable aerospace vehicles.
These vehicles are using air-breathing engines and can take-off from any conventional airport. They are multipurpose vehicles in the sense that they be used for passenger or freight transport as well as satellite launching. Detailed studies emerged a new concept for hydrogen-fuelled, horizontal take off, fully reusable, single stage hypersonic vehicle, called HYPERPLANE. Avatar, a mini-aerospace plane, design is a technology demonstrator for hypersonic transportation. It is a scaled down version of hyperplane.
Hyperplanes are multipurpose, fully reusable aerospace vehicles. These vehicles are using air-breathing engines and can take-off from any conventional airport. They are multipurpose vehicles in the sense that they be used for passenger or freight transport as well as satellite launching. The key enabling technology for hyper planes is scramjet engines which uses air breathing engine technology. The hyperplanes requires a booster rocket which will give it the supersonic velocity required for scramjet operation.
Speeds greater than Mach 5 are called hypersonic, equivalent to about one mile per second or approximately 3,600 miles per hour at sea level. A regular passenger plane flies at 0.8 Mach while fast military jets fly at Mach 2. SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet flies at Mach 3.2. The fastest rocket plane, X-15 flied once at Mach 6.6 way back in 1960. Russian jets (unmanned) have flown at Mach 6.4. Pretty evident as it is, flying at hypersonic speeds is difficult. According to NASA it is "one of the greatest aeronautical research challenges”.
The main technical challenges are the development of non rocket engines and also the development of composite materials which can withstand the heat produced at this speeds .There is a wide range of application and scope for this technology. Many countries have started developing this technology, but it is still in a nascent stage. Most successful of the hyper planes developed so far is X-43.Thus we can analyze the working and technology of X-43 to learn more about hyperplanes .Also the key technological requirement is a scramjet engine which is more essential to sustain hypersonic speeds. Due to its wider applications in defense and in space transport India is also developing a hyperplane called Avatar, which is mainly for defense uses.
Working Of A Scramjet Engine
Like a ramjet, a scramjet essentially consists of a constricted tube through which inlet air is compressed by the high speed of the vehicle, a combustion chamber where fuel is combusted, and a nozzle through which the exhaust jet leaves at higher speed than the inlet air. Also like a ramjet, there are few or no moving parts. In particular, there is no high-speed turbine, as in a turbofan or turbojet engine, that is expensive to produce and can be a major point of failure.Also there is no compressor for air compression.Thus it compress air by shock or by the shape of the inlet and fuel is injected and combustion occurs and air is expanded at higher velocities and is exhausted through the nozzle. Inlet, combustion and exit are at supersonic velocities.Thus scramjet is supersonic combustion ramjet engines.
Difference Between Scramjet And Jet Engine
The main difference is that the scramjet does not contain any moving parts like compressor blades, turbine blades etc. Also in scramjet there is no compression to subsonic velocities.In a jet engine compression and combustion process occurs at subsonic velocities.Thus combustion efficiency will be better in jet engines.In a jet engine a compressor for compression,combustion chambers for compression and turbines to run the compressors.The main difference is that in a scramjet engine all the processes like compression,combustion and exhaust takes place at supersonic velocities.But there are no moving parts in a scramjet engine.A scramjet engine consisted of only a constricted tube.Thus chances for mechanical failures due to moving parts are avoided.The differences are clearly shown in the diagram released by NASA.
Hypersoar Flight Diagram
The flight of Hypersoar is clearly shown in the diagram.It moves by skipping through the edge of the atmosphere.
Working Of Hypersoar
The HyperSoar escapes heat build-up on the airframe by skipping along the edge of Earth's atmosphere - much like a rock skipped across water. A HyperSoar aircraft would ascend to power outside the Earth's atmosphere - then turn off its engines and coast back to the surface of the atmosphere. There, it would again fire its air-breathing engines and skip back into space.
The craft would repeat this process until it reached its destination. A flight from US to Japan will take 25 such skips. The skips will be angled at only 5 degrees. The passengers will feel a force of 1.5 Gs which what you would experience on a child's swing. The plane will power up to 39 kms, from where it will coast to double that altitude, before it starts to descend. Each skip will be 450 kms long.
All previous concepts have suffered from heat buildup on the surface of the aircraft and in various aircraft components due to friction with the atmosphere. A HyperSoar plane would experience less heating because it would spend much of its flight out of the Earth's atmosphere. Also, any heat the craft picked up while "skipping" down into the atmosphere could be at least partially dissipated during the aircraft's time in space(it is cold out there).HyperSoar has a promised fuel efficiency comparable to today's commercial aeroplanes. However, possible adverse environmental effects from emissions or sonic booms have not been looked into, which have plagued attempts to develop slower, supersonic transport planes.
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